Saturday, October 10, 2020

Doll's Eye View: New York Spring/Summer 2021 Trends

The show must go on! In spite of dire predictions that fashion week might be cancelled for the remainder of this year.... the industry still put on a show....sort of. Long before there were theatrical catwalk shows, there was something called... "Market Week." Design houses and manufacturers would invite buyers into the showroom for a preview of their new collections and take orders. The press was sent press kits with a few photos. With few exceptions, this pretty much sums up what happened in New York, London, Milan and Paris over the past month. This was a totally "different" experience for my girls, nonetheless it did not deter them in their quest for a few new looks to compliment their restricted pandemic lifestyles. In New York, there were those designers who continued "business as usual" with opulent designs and yes, they did look so out of touch. So very...2019! Given the last seven months of lock down, the girls, quite naturally gravitated to clothes that were easy to wear, unassuming and simply..made them feel good. 

Some of you will be bored by our selections. But fashion is not synonymous with flamboyance. Catwalk shows were not initially designed to serve as entertainment for the masses. They were staged for the eyes of the press and retail buyers. Most of is a reflection of current lifestyles. It's about a mode of dress reflective of the times in which we live. Most people have other concerns on their minds...Covid19 and all the restrictions it has placed on our lives, loss of employment, social distancing, the US elections.... We are in one of those pivotable moments where trends tend to move from one extreme to another.  We need clothes, however. For the moment.. is about simple, wearable clothes. Again...think of this as a cleansing of the palette at a time when the trends are shifting and making a passage into a new era.

Back to Basics

With my previous post, I did prepare you for this!!! It's about getting back to the simple pieces that can be dressed up or down. A chic little nothing that takes you from dawn to dusk and lets you express your mood or personality with accessories.

Denise is adding this to her wardrobe of little black dresses. It looks very much like one of those Patrick Kelly dresses we made awhile ago...a simple jersey dress with shirring on both sides. But I wanted to add a small new touch, so after shirring both sides of the dress, I added what appears to be drawstrings, each ending with a tassel. (There's are tassels on the ends of the neck straps in the back as well.)

This is Nicki (otherwise known as Keeki Adaeze), the newest model in the house. She chose the one shouldered top and a pair of trousers. It's nothing extraordinary, but with basic pieces, she can style herself with accessories any way she wants! 

But don't worry. All of fashion hasn't been blacked out. There is a lot of color planned for next summer. Again, the look is super easy, bordering on beachwear! These are all easy to create for your diva. Easy to wear. We like the ankle length tent dress in tangy stripes, a wide pair of trousers slipped over a bathing suit. And of course a turquoise caftan dress edged with fringe for effortless chic. It's the kind of look that I could see myself wearing around the house and out in public!

Sonia instantly took a liking to the caftan dress. It really looked more like a poncho to my eyes, so I thought it would be nice over a pair of matching stretch pants. The top is really just a rectangle with the neckline cut out in the middle. I lined the edges with a fringed trim. Note: I didn't have access to this time of trim, so I ended up making the fringe myself using embroidery filament yarn. 

Color Relief
Again, next summer promises to be drenched in bright, cheerful colors. Styles revert back to summer staples...tunics over pants, ruffled sarongs over tank tops, even a tie dyed dress strapless dress with a cascade of ruffles. Keep it simple but consider interesting details that add movement like ruffles or fringe.

Prints Charming
Printed fabrics are another way to spruce up otherwise basic silhouettes. When you go fabric shopping, look for colorful florals, jungle prints or even abstracts. Use them in a total look or  match and clash in a spirit of fun. But take a close the end of the day, we are still talking about easy to wear silhouettes...wrap tops with matching pants, dress length tunics over trousers, easy shirts over baggy shorts. And ladies....don't forget those masks. They can also be designed as a fashion accessory coordinated to match dolly's outfit. 

Adrianna shows off a cool summer look... a cool, asymmetrical tunic worn over a pair of pencil thin pants. Originally, I had styled this with wider trousers, but the outfit seemed to overwhelm the doll. Wide always works well with narrow! As for the print... this is why fashion week is so important to me...I was inspired to emulate the print with the help of some textile markers! (Note: I'll make this the subject of a future post!) The top itself is another rectangle. But instead of folding it over with the neckline cut out, it consists of two rectangles stitched together along the shoulder line on one side and tacked in place on the opposite side, thus allowing for the shoulder to peak through. I also made vertical stitches from the underarm to the hem on either side to contain the width of the garment. The important thing here... it was super simple which left me time to paint on the motifs of the print.

Summer Breeze
An all white cotton theme....these are summer basics...a flared, ankle-length dress with an English embroidered lace ruffle around bare shoulders, a long jacket belted over full pants, a shirt belted over a cotton dress with a flounce  bouncing away from the knees. What better way to get your doll ready for summer!

Garden Party
For when the only party you can throw safely is outside.... More fresh prints and easy going styles when the sun comes out! The flower gardens were the inspiration for many of the fresh prints we'll see for next summer. Roses, orchids, violets.... what could be prettier! Silhouettes remain simple to wear, easy to make.. Think tent dresses, shirt tops with gathered skirts, halter neck tops with evening length circle skirts, all covered in a botanical garden's finest! 

Again...I took my textile markers and a brush and got to work on Olympia's dress. The print doesn't have to be exact, it only has to capture the spirit. The original dress also has some beaded embroidery. But given the times we're in right now, my girls opted for something simpler. So I painted on the motifs and in the middle of each flower, tacked on a rose petal (cut from a sheer polyester with edges melted) folded in two.

I Feel Pretty
These easy dresses that look as though they stepped out from another point in time, dominate the catwalk for next spring. Again, it isn't the time to make big, splashy entrances, or wild, edgy statements. It's about calming down, chilling out, with something that is comfortable, easy to wear, something to feel good in! This means silhouettes that slink over the forms beneath, or fit and flare that flatter the body. When you are making something this simple...invest in beautiful fabric!

Springtime Promenade
There are two things going on here. In early spring, we want something to quickly slip into as we run to the store, answer a quick "non-zoom" meeting with a colleague, or feel the need to get away from it all by taking a stroll through the park. But six weeks later, under the warmth of the summer sun, there is still the desire to slip on something comfortable, but usually the weather inspires us to put on a pretty face. 
In a talk I had with a few other fashion professionals, the general consensus was that having been indoors and clad in pajamas, yoga pants and sweatsuits for so long, fashionistas are likely to emerge in post-Covid times--spoiled by the confort of their pandemic clothes, yet perhaps, yearning for a more luxurious version of them. In the original photo, I saw a jersey knit kimono spilling over the shoulders of a loosely fitted dress. (This might also be a grey cotton fleece used for sweatsuits.) Ingrid already had a white, long sleeve cashmere dress. But instead of making a kimono, I decided to treat this as an enormous shawl--almost like a blanket. She slips on the dress and wraps herself in a matching blanket and heads to...wherever... in style, warmth and comfort!

On the flip side...warmer weather encourages a certain flirtatious way of dressing... The original ensemble consists of a lingerie style top worn with a pair of flared shorts and a soft jacket tossed over the shoulders. The fabric looks to be a soft cotton or even perhaps a rayon. For Christie's outfit I wanted to keep it in the girly tones of pink. But I decided to go with a more "boudoir" version so I opted for silk satin instead. I wanted the jacket to "melt" over Christie's shoulders, so instead of a classic jacket with set in sleeves, I made a kimono jacket instead and belted it over the flared shorts.. 

Sweet Little Nothings
Hail the the charm of the little black dress with such precious detailing... netting re-embroidered with black lace, ribbon and fringe or simply pressed with white embroidered motifs to one side. 
I really wanted to make one of the Sukeina net dresses but unfortunately didn't have access to any of the materials or trims. So Giselle had to settle for the Naeem Khan dress. It's a simple little A-line jersey dress with white floral embroidered decals tacked onto one side. Again, easy to make and stunning on the doll. (I took the motifs from an old camisole.)

Cool Drink of Water
It doesn't get classier than this! The key to these elegant dresses is "simplicity." Even formal wear is paired down to its simplest element... the column dress. Designers have gone back to basic, understated dresses for formal wear with just enough embellishment to keep things interesting. Colors here remain neutral for evenings. It's about dressing up without outlandishly going overboard. 

Dorian shows off a super glam look--a two-piece column dress in heavy silk satin with it's own pearl necklace. What makes this dress a real class act is the fabric. Again, when the look is this simple and this easy to make....splurge on the fabric. The top is a triangle with its apex twisted d stitched into the collar. The bottom is a classic straight skirt. 

Veronique shows how easy it is to glam up a basic black dress. Though the original dress features a draped shoulder detail resembling a shrug, I decided to go the other direction by transforming that detail into a full train. The dress is a strapless sheath. (Easy to make). Over her shoulders... a rectangle of fabric that is stitched in a loop on one end. In the front, I twisted the fabric (and tacked down the folds so they wouldn't move). The top wraps around both shoulders. In the back, the free edge is fed through the loop, thus resulting in a train. Note: The photo in the upper right hand shows you what it looks like in the back.

Okay folks, this was the only the first stop on our exploration of Spring Summer 2021 styles. Mask up and follow the girls as they head for Europe. Don't worry. Unlike the humans coming from the US, dolls are all Covid free and, we are told, will be welcomed at the border!

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  1. Kolejny oszałamiający i niezapomniany post! Tyle w nim różnorodności i zaskakujących trendów! Z wielką ciekawością przeczytałam do samego końca!
    Dużo jest modeli, które sama bym założyła. Są świetnie uszyte i z dobrych, dobrze dobranych, materiałów. Lubię prostotę i sama zakładam takie stroje, choć bardzo lubię patrzeć na kolorowe, nowoczesne i ozdobione ubrania! Młodość może nosić wszystko :-)
    Twoja czarna sukienka z białymi kwiatuszkami jest przełomowa! Będę o niej śnić po nocach! Wspaniały pomysł i wykonanie! Niby proste a jak piękne, eleganckie rozwiązanie!
    Bardzo dziękuję za wspaniały wpis! Pozdrawiam Cię serdecznie ♥

    1. Olla wrote: Another stunning and memorable post! There is so much variety and surprising trends in it! I read it with great curiosity until the end!
      There are many models that I would wear myself. They are perfectly sewn and made of good, well-chosen materials. I like simplicity and wear such clothes myself, although I really like to look at colorful, modern and decorated clothes! Youth can wear anything :-)
      Your black dress with white flowers is groundbreaking! I will dream about her at night! Great idea and execution! Seemingly simple and how beautiful, elegant solution!
      Thank you very much for the great post! Yours sincerely ♥

      Olla, thank you for such a beautiful commentary. And yes.... these are clothes that most of us would enjoy wearing and I think that is why I enjoyed putting this post together. Because even though NY fashion week wasn't a great big extravagant affair, it seems as though the designers descended from their "ivory towers," took a step back in time, and came back to earth with some very real clothes. I think this these are the types of clothes most women want to wear. It did take me awhile to put all of this together, because when each piece is so simple, you really have to put a lot of thought into what and why you've chosen them. The white flowers on black dress came out even better than I expected. And it was a joy to work with color again. Big hugs, April

  2. The floral dress is great! I like the other outfits very much as well. You are amazing.

    1. Thank you so much Dlubaniny, for your kind words. I am nowhere where I can find prints that come close to the original dresses. But one day in a local craft store, I discovered textile markers and that opened up many possibilities. Thank you so much for stopping by.

  3. Lovely, and since we are going into spring/summer here in the southern hemisphere it's inspirational to see.

    1. Thank you Jools. I'm happy you found this inspirational. For the moment, this is a change in fashion that is most welcome to my weary eyes. These are things I would buy and wear for myself which I realized once I had completed the outfits for the dolls. Strangely enough however, I found I had to really think about each piece--the proportions, the fabrics, even the colors--as I worked. Lock down and how myself and many others feel about "fashion" really figured into the choices I made. Thank you for stopping by.

  4. All beautiful but I love the blue floral gown you did, stunning!

    1. Thank you Chris, for you kind words. Funny, I thought people would be so bored with this report and it's turned out to be such a crowd pleaser. I guess, deep down, it's a nice change to see pretty (and pretty wearable) fashions again. Thank you for your visit.

  5. I loved your first two paragraphs...truly we will be in a cultural/social upheaval for more than another year. A great synopsis of where we are...and fashion is a business, not entertainment especially now. It doesn't mean we can't be diverted a bit, lol. As usual, I'm loving your interpretations more than the originals. Lots of details here, in these free and easy clothes. Sometimes simplicity is the hardest to achieve. Going to have a pin a few of these, Thanks, so much!

    1. And thank you Sandi for your lovely comment. I've been involved in fashion--in one way or another--since the age of 16. In the course of my life I've seen everything from mini skirts to bustle dresses. As a journalist, I've participated in NY market week and Paris haute couture extravaganzas. But at the end of the day...clothes are products to be worn, no matter how much or how little "art" is incorporated in teh design. Today's generation of fashionista has known only the ostentatious side of the business. So it's about time for an industry reset that gets us back to square one, I think. And yes, simplicity is the hardest to achieve and look good. I'm almost shocked to think how long it took to get this report up, given the simplicity of the patterns. Anyway, happy to know you were inspired. Big hugs.

    2. April, it is really obvious that you are a professional and kudos for sharing your expertise, eye, and soul. That's why I blog---to share, maybe teach, and possibly because I'm just a little bit insane and it makes me think I'm normal. I have Always loved miniatures. Hugs, Sandi

  6. What can I say? They are all pretty awesome. But the flowers have it! My favorites are Olympia's floral dress. Even at this scale it really captures the essence of the original. And the Naeem Khan dress that Giselle is wearing looks simply classy on model & doll. The flower appliqué is a perfect replica.

    1. Thank you so much JMD for your very wonderful comment. And yes, the flowers definitely have it! I don't know why I never thought about textile markets before this post. Maybe seeing all the lovely prints this season put the spark in my brain. But it was a lot of fun and it gave me an idea for a future tutorial. I was quite surprised with how well the doll version of these dresses came out. Giselle's dress was also a big surprise. I love working with the appliques, but even I was surprised at how close I came to the original. Plus, it is simply a lovely little dress. I'm almost finished with London, which was not quite as nice. I haven't yet peaked at Milan or Paris, so I'm curious and hopeful there will be some nice clothes there as well. Thank you for stopping by.

  7. The caftan look is beautiful, I love yours and the original. And I LOVE your mini Marchesa gown, wow!!! The accessories are stunning and the silk satin is wonderful. Again you nailed it all with your miniature outfits, and the last picture is amazing. Awesome work!!

    1. Thank you so much Linda, for your very kind words. I think we all loved this post because it's clothes most of us can relate to would like to wear ourselves. I thought about how I am dressed right now during this lockdown. (Very use to my comfy jog pants and sweatshirt and slippers.) And how I think I would like to dress once we can finally get out of the house. Then I made my selections and tried to imagine how the doll was feeling in the clothes. Happy you enjoyed this post.

  8. Bonjour April, je suis très contente de voir un nouveau post sur la collection 2021. C’est vrai que pour la prochaine tendance on va privilégier les tenues détentes vue la situation mondiale. Donc c’est le retour à la simplicité. Ce que j’aimerai bien voir c’est le tuto comment faire son imprimé. Je dois reconnaître que je ne suis pas trop tissus imprimé, mais j’aime toujours découvrir tes conseils et essayer de les faire. Comme toujours tes modèles sont magnifiques.

    1. Shasarignis wrote: Hello April, I am very happy to see a new post on the 2021 collection. It is true that for the next trend we are going to focus on casual outfits given the global situation. So it's back to simplicity. What I would like to see is the tutorial on how to make your print. I have to admit that I’m not much of a printed fabric fan, but I always like to find your tips and try to do them. As always your models are beautiful.

      Thank you so much for your very kind words, Shasarignis. I was quite skeptical when I heard there would still be a fashion month this year. But after I saw certain models, everything seem to make sense. I am happy we are in a calm period of time where simplicity and the classic prevail. It is as if fashion has pressed an enormous "reset" button! In regard to the prints... not to worry, I will be doing a tutorial on hand painting (and handling the media) in the very near future!


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